865.014/2–248: Telegram

The United States Deputy for the Former Italian Colonies of the Council of Foreign Ministers ( Gallman ) to the Secretary of State


396. Itcol 100. DepItcol met this afternoon with Gallman presiding. Only agenda item disposed of concerned British request commission be instructed study disputed boundary between British and Italian Somaliland. French and US supported British request on basis it was similar to French request regarding boundary between Eritrea and French Somaliland approved by deputies last November but Soviet refused recognize similarity.

British agreeable to commission only collecting available data and not visiting disputed section boundary if that should entail too much time or expense. British were eager for immediate decision by deputies since commission expected go Bender Cassim Zukhin next few days.

Zarubin prolonged discussion with unexpected proposal that Italian Government be asked present facts regarding boundary rectification desired by British to include town of Bender Ziada in British Somaliland. French and British deputies protested strongly that Italian Government should not be consulted on such matter since Italy renounced [Page 895] all rights to Italian territorial possessions in Africa in peace treaty.1 Zarubin persisted in saying commission should not consider subject at all until facts had been reported by Italian Government. British and French deputies pointed out that such a procedure, due to short time of two weeks commission will remain in Italian Somaliland, would make investigation of boundary question by commission virtually impossible. Agreement finally reached as follows:

Secretary-General to communicate British note to Italian Ambassador London immediately requesting factual memorandum on disputed section boundary soonest possible emphasizing that commission scheduled leave Italian Somaliland February 18.
Secretary-General to telegraph British note to commission now with instruction that commission is not to begin considering question until it has received Italian factual memorandum.
Italian memorandum to be telegraphed to commission when received by deputies although he agreed to such conditions as only way to get subject considered. French deputy stated Italian Government should not be consulted and that commission should not have to wait for information from foreign source until it could investigate facts on spot. Massigli therefore accepted the solution only on understanding that it did not create a precedent. British and American deputies agreed with French statement.

In opening statement on air transportation costs of commission Zarubin said commission should adhere original estimate expenses. Sir Noel Charles introduced new letter from BOAC explaining why costs could not be reduced. BOAC letter will be circulated and question of transportation costs will be taken up again at next deputies meeting tomorrow afternoon.

  1. According to Article 23 of the Italian Peace Treaty Italy renounced all rights to Libya, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.